The family business was a small chain of adult book stores started by my grandfather and run by both him and my father. As a young child I was exposed to pornographic material at a very young age, magazine and video covers were not hidden from sight because my father thought I was too young to notice. Well I did notice, and those images along with all of the typical social conditioning around sexuality, the female body, beauty and desirability deeply impacted me.
At the age of 5 I began acting those images out with other children and all through elementary school I found children with whom to play out sex acts. I was compelled to initiate sexual experiences with those who were willing, but as I matured into an adolescent and young adult, I began to feel as though I was the molester. I began to feel that I had coerced and abused others.
When I was still in high school There was one young friend from age 8 or 9 that I ran into on at a local park when we were still in high school. I had drank a 40 of malt liquor and smoked weed, so I had the courage to speak to her. I asked her if she remembered what we had done together and she just completely stone walled me. She said none of it was true and that we had never done any of that. I was so devastated, I just wanted to process my feelings with someone, have her tell me that it was okay, that we were just kids, that we were just innocently exploring our bodies. Now I can see that she was encapsulated in just as much shame as I was and that she shut me out, not to deny me and purposefully hurt me, but to protect herself from her uncomfortable and complex emotions.
The feelings that I was a sexual predator and had abused other children caused me to experience deep levels of shame, self hatred and self disgust. I began using heavy drugs at age 14. By the time I graduated high school I was smoking weed every day, drinking multiple times a week, I had runs with meth, cocaine, heroin, acid and mushrooms. I was regularly putting myself in extremely dangerous situation with kids that were doing illegal activities, as well as extremely physically and sexual dangerous situation. From my early teens to early 20s I had this deep force within me that was driving me, compelling me, pulling me toward toxic and dangerous situations that caused me to experience more and deeper trauma, for which I felt personally responsible. There was a period of years were I harbored a seductive longing to be completely annihilated. I would drive down the road and have thoughts of just turning the wheel and flying off the cliff or slamming into an oncoming semi-truck. I had fantasies about over dosing and just never waking up.
When I was about 20 years old I was taking LSD with some college friends and I remember going to the bathroom and catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I stopped and leaned in to gaze myself in the eyes and I just could not bear to even look at myself. I was physically repulsed by the act of looking into my own eyes. I felt nauseated and weak in my knees. That was the moment when I came to consciously know that I held this deep feeling of loathing and disgust for myself. That was the moment of awareness were I knew that to survive this life, I would have to figure out how to love myself.
It took a few more years and a few more traumatic experiences for me to finally seek out a therapist. When I was 24 I started therapy and I worked with Marian once or twice a week for over 3 years. Through my work with her, I came to understand my childhood, the over sexualization, my father's inappropriate behavior and my experiences of abandonment and loss. I came to understand my behavior as that of a curious and confused child and not as that of a molester.
Working through childhood trauma was the turning point in my life. I found forgiveness for myself and for the others involved. I slowly began to see my experiences of adversity as a platform from which to inspire others to heal. Learning to forgive and love myself did not happen overnight, it took years of therapy. Yes, there are times when I get sucked back into shame, fear and loss, but now I know the work is worth it. I do not run from it, I run straight into it. I seek out support in my life all the time. We are wired for community and we do not heal in a vacuum, we heal in the presence of another who is able to see our light, even when we cannot.
There was a time in my life when I thought I would never be able to experience love in a healthy relationship because I had no good role models and was deeply self destructive. Every time I met a partner I would feel compelled to share my deepest and darkest feelings because I knew that if they really knew my story, they could never love me. Whenever a man saw past my story, and said they loved me anyway, I figured I just hadn't communicated well enough and I must try again. I would continue to burden them with my weighty emotions.
By the grace of a powerful universal force, when I called in my partner at the tender age of 24 years old. My therapist helped me to create clear boundaries about the issues that were to be processed only with her and those that were appropriate to process with a partner. I am so grateful that I had her in my corner when we laid the foundation of our relationship. This loving a patient man has been my partner for 14 years, my husband for 10 and we are the parents of 2 wonderful young boys. I can't say that I am perfect, far from it. I am a work in progress, always evolving and growing toward being the best version of myself and taking responsibility for me missteps.
The most powerful therapeutic techniques that shifted my life were those of identifying my limiting beliefs and challenging them, inner child work, deep personal forgiveness, visualization, timeline integration, parts work and somatic experiencing. These days I use sounding and movement as key ways to shift my state and purge stuck emotions. I have learned that I cannot repress my emotions, they will find a way through, whether that be through anger, over eating or disconnection. It is best to just allow them to move through me in practical exercises.
When I was about 22 I picked up the book, Succulent Wild Woman, by SARK. I remember being so inspired to be wild, free and unapologetically ME! In that book is where I read my very first favorite quote:
"I have woven a parachute out of everything broken."
This is the kind of inspiration that allows me to open my heart, my mind and my soul to healing. I know that I could take all of my experiences and make sense of them and not only save myself, I can drift through the beautiful wonder of this life with power and grace.
If you have experienced trauma, depression, low self worth, anxiety or any other emotional state that you desire to be emancipated from, I want you to know that you can heal. You can love yourself, you can take responsibility for your life, your actions, your emotional state and your future. The first step to wholeness if your willingness, and since you are here reading this, it is obvious you are ready! I encourage you to find you support person and allow yourself to be seen. In being truly known by another, we know ourselves more deeply.
Sending you so much love,
Kristina Campbell is an Empowerment and Pleasure Guide, inspired to help women cultivate their authentic sexuality as a means to healing, wholeness and connection with spirit. Kristina comes from a breadth of experience and has transformed her life and relationship through the work of deep sexual connection. Coming from a chaotic childhood that included toxic marriages, verbal abuse, body shaming and sexual trauma, her path was fraught with negative experiences around sexuality. After years of searching for what would fill the void of pain and loss, her path kept coming back to sexual healing. Over years of therapy, spiritual work, sexual reclamation and marital communication, Kristina has transformed her relationship to herself and to her partner.